Climate change has been in the news lately. Millions of people (mostly young) turned up to a bunch of rallies around the world while a young girl from Sweden stood in front of the world’s leaders at the United Nations and told a few home truths ie. stop sticking your head in the sand whenever someone mentions the ‘CC’ words and do something before our planet burns to a crisp.
It seems that for the first time in awhile the world has been jolted into action. People (particularly young people) want change and conservatives with interests in coal and gas attack the young people because they are a/ young and b/ speaking too much of the truth.
Climate change is having a huge impact around the globe now. This is no future holocaust (although things will get worse). As sea levels rise and our summers (and winters) get hotter people are starting to suffer.
Fairbourne is a little town in Wales that sits by the coast. It is roughly the size of Barwon Heads and it has officially been declared the first town in the United Kingdom to be ’decommissioned’ due to the impact of climate change. Over the next decade, everyone in the town (over 1,000) people will have to up and move inland before the ocean takes over.
In Sweden, the coastal town of Kiruna is on the move while in Louisiana (USA) the town of Isle de Jean Charles, which is located on an island is being moved 50 km inland.
So what are the impacts for us on the Bellarine and Surf Coasts? Firstly as sea levels rise there will be a lot less space to put your towel on the beach. Experts suggest by 2050 there could be 30% less beach on a higher average tide… that’s a lot less space for families and surfers to enjoy the sun and sand.
King tides and storm surges are going to wreak havoc along our coast. The stretch of beach from Point Lonsdale to Lorne is one of the fastest ‘naturally’ eroding coastlines in the world. Throw in higher tides and a few decent storms and that will lead to cliff collapses and loss of sand in many places. Parts of Airey’s Inlet, Barwon Heads, Torquay, Anglesea, and Apollo Bay will be impacted by sea-level rise and storm surge. We could see entire coastal towns ‘relocated’ inland.
For your average surfer higher tides is a major problem. Many of our best surf breaks work best on low-mid tides. Bells and Winki Pop will be un-surfable if waves are bashing into the base of cliffs most of the time. Reefs and bombies will disappear.
This little video from Surfrider Foundation Australia illustrates what we are up against. A major storm event in 2016 destroyed homes along Collaroy Beach. The same thing could happen here.
Climate Change… don’t think it won’t affect you at some stage.
Written by John Foss.